Anti-tobacco drive soon, says Bista

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 31:

Vice-chairman of the Council of Ministers, Kirti Nidhi Bista, today said the government would speed up programmes against tobacco use very soon. Speaking at an interaction organised jointly by the Ministry of Health and Population and partner agencies to mark the World No-Tobacco Day here, Bista said: “Even though the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) has not been ratified, the government would intensify awareness drive against the use and promotion of tobacco.” Stating that tobacco has now become a major cause of various diseases, he said its use needs to be checked in time. President of Nepal Cancer Relief Society (NCRS), Diwakar Rajkarnikar, said there is a need of a long-term planning to fight against the increasing use of tobacco in the country. “It is possible to implement anti-tobacco programmes once the government expresses the commitment to ratify the FCTC. And, with the concerted effort and pressure from all stakeholders, banning of tobacco can be materialised,” he said.

Dr MN Hawk, representative of World Health Organisation, said awareness programmes against tobacco would succeed if the concerned bodies took seriously the advices from health professionals. Santa Lal Mulmi, director at RECPHEC, suggested the government ratify FCTC through an ordinance. Meanwhile, a rally, which began from Exhibition Road and passed through New Road, Indrachowk , Ghantaghar and ended at Exhibition Road, was organised to mark the day. In Nepal, 15,000 people are estimated to die of diseases caused by smoking and tobacco use. According to the World Health Organisation, 85 per cent of liver cancer is caused by smoking and 50 lakh people die of tobacco-related diseases every year across the globe.

According to the Nepal Cancer Relief Society (NCRS), 25 different diseases are caused by tobacco use. Smoking is the major cause of liver, mouth and throat cancers along with heart diseases, tuberculosis and asthma. Tobacco contains 4,000 different harmful chemicals.

Nepal Youth Red Cross Circle, Shanker Dev Campus unit, also organised a programme to mark the day. Dek Raj Bhattarai, FSU chairman of the campus, said campaigns against tobacco would succeed if they were started from educational institutions.